Localization of Anatomical Landmarks in Head CT Images for Image to Patient Registration
The use of anatomical landmarks as a basis for image to patient registration is appealing because the registration may be performed retrospectively. We have previously proposed the use of two anatomical soft tissue landmarks of the head, the canthus (corner of the eye) and the tragus (a small, pointed, cartilaginous flap of the ear), as a registration basis for an automated CT image to patient registration system, and described their localization in patient space using close range photogrammetry. In this paper, the automatic localization of these landmarks in CT images, based on their curvature saliency and using a rule based system that incorporates prior knowledge of their characteristics, is described. Existing approaches to landmark localization in CT images are predominantly semi-automatic and primarily for localizing internal landmarks. To validate our approach, the positions of the landmarks localized automatically and manually in near isotropic CT images of 102 patients were compared. The average difference was 1.2mm (std = 0.9mm, max = 4.5mm) for the medial canthus and 0.8mm (std = 0.6mm, max = 2.6mm) for the tragus. The medial canthus and tragus can be automatically localized in CT images, with performance comparable to manual localization, based on the approach presented.
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